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Use all available means to get out of debt

When you get into a serious financial jam, it can be difficult to extricate yourself from a mountain of crushing debt. But before you resign yourself to a life of living paycheck to paycheck and dodging creditors, rethink your relationship with money and credit.

Live within your means

It's easier said than done, but this is a core principle of financial solvency. Credit card balances should be paid in full each month and not used to cover living expenses.

Your credit-utilization ratio can adversely affect your credit rating whenever your credit is maxed out (or close to it). Cut up the plastic and pay down your balances.

Cut -- way -- back on expenses

Forget Netflix. Most libraries offer free DVD movies (and they certainly have plenty of books). Consider canceling your internet/cable services, as most people have data plans with their mobile phones anyway.

Who needs expensive specialty coffee drinks when you can make your own pot at home? Better yet, take advantage of the free versions at the office, your bank, grocery store and other local merchants.

Start brown-bagging it for lunch, and reuse the bags. Speaking of recycling, you can turn your aluminum cans in for cash, along with any other scrap metal you may have laying around on your property.

Pay bills on time

Late fees and penalties on delinquent accounts add up lightning fast. If you must delay payments, ask for extensions. You will still pay late fees but can avoid delinquency status.

Often the most lenient creditors regarding extensions are the utility companies. They routinely work with customers to avoid interruption of services.

Cut back on food costs

Restaurants and fast food outlets are off the table -- literally. But those who are otherwise healthy can cut back further by eating no meat one or two days per week. Not only can you save money on meals, but you can trim your waistline as well.

This can also pay off in health benefits, e.g., lowering cholesterol levels, which might reduce the cost of monthly prescription charges and co-pays.

Make the hard financial choices

Not everyone can simply trim the fat, tighten their belts and work their way out of debt. For some, the hole that they have dug for themselves is far too deep to resolve with quick fixes. If your situation is truly dire, you might need to take the bull by the horns and consider filing for either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

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Law Office of Ginger C. Cord, PSC
155 E. Main Street
Suite 330
Lexington, KY 40507

Toll Free: 800-762-6916
Phone: 859-963-2073
Fax: 859-254-2192
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